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April 21 is Astronomy Day

A beautiful chart from astronomer Guy Ottewell, showing the evening sky on Astronomy Day 2018. Plus links to Astronomy Day events and other info.

Was another civilization on Earth before humans?

How do we know earlier industrial civilizations on Earth didn’t rise and fall long before humans appeared? That’s the question posed in a new scientific thought experiment.

Green moon on April 20, 2018? Nah

For weeks, people have searched for this post more than any other at EarthSky. No, there won’t be a green moon on April 20, 2018. It’s a joke, y’all, with its roots (ahem) in cannabis culture. :-)

Underwater noise pollution stresses aquatic animals

The roar of motors, ping of military sonar, bangs and blasts from offshore development are distracting, confusing, and even killing, aquatic animals.

Impossibly starry skies over NYC

This week is International Dark Sky Week. Celebrate by watching this impossible, but magical, video of dark, starry skies over light-polluted New York City. It’s new from Project Skyglow.

Watch launch of TESS planet-hunting mission April 16

TESS will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Lift-off is planned for no earlier than 6:32 p.m. EDT (10:32 p.m. UTC).

Scared yet? 2018 has 2 Friday 13ths

The 1st of this year’s 2 Friday the 13ths falls on April 13, 2018. It comes exactly 13 weeks before 2018’s second Friday the 13th, in July.

IAU approves names for Pluto’s moon Charon

NASA held a public naming contest in 2015, just before New Horizons’ sweep past Pluto and Charon. The spacecraft mission team has used many of the Charon feature names since. Now the IAU gives the names the nod.

Cosmic gorilla effect could blind detection of aliens

Could it be that the more rational and methodical searches for extraterrestrial intelligence are overlooking “the gorilla in the room?” A new study suggests it’s possible.

Whoa! New and giant telescopes ahead

Telescope technology has come a long way. Here are 4 new amazing machines for observing the universe, both from space and from Earth.

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in exoplanet search

When NASA first started planning the Kepler mission, no one knew if the universe held any planets outside our solar system. Thousands of exoplanets later, the search enters a new phase.

Look up: It’s a satellite!

“I use the Heavens Above astronomy site or the Starry Night app to check on satellites … they are fun to spot.”

Top 10 things about brown recluse spiders

It’s their active season. Here are some things you might not know.

Mars Insight mission due to launch

Launch window for Mars InSight opens May 5, 2018. It’ll be the 1st interplanetary mission to go up from the U.S. West Coast. NASA said: “InSight’s pre-dawn launch may be visible for more than 10 million Californians … “

Does space weather threaten high-tech life?

The wired Earth of the 21st century is at the mercy of the volatile nature of the sun, says a scientist who studies solar storms.

Blackbirds in the city: Bad health, longer life

Blackbirds live longer in cities than in forests. But a new genetic analysis suggest that city birds have much poorer health than their rural cousins.

Watch a robot fish swim in the ocean

MIT computer scientists have developed SoFi – a soft, robot fish made of silicone rubber – that can swim alongside real fish in the ocean.

Why is Easter so early this year?

Yes, April 1 is an early Easter, but 2018 doesn’t hold a record for the earliest possible Easter. How the date of Easter is determined, here.

Mysterious skeleton is human, not alien

It turns out that this strange tiny skeleton is without a doubt human.

Watch spacewalk live March 29

On Thursday, 2 astronauts will perform a spacewalk. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at about 12:10 UTC (8:10 a.m. EDT) and will last about 6.5 hours. How to watch live.